Ever wonder who Jesus was really supposed to be? Today I am going to focus on a few special verses from the book of Hebrews and it is my sincerest hope that these verses will help clear up many misconceptions you may have about Jesus, the human condition, and the true intent and purpose of the Bible.
There are a lot of articles on the net talking about who Jesus was. While this is an important question to ask in the beginning of one’s New Testament journey, there comes a time where a little bit of maturity on our part should prompt a different kind of discussion about Jesus: namely, one that focuses on what Jesus represents.
To help us grasp this concept, let’s look to some very controversial verses in Hebrews chapter 6.
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Heb. 6:1-2).
How strange! The author of Hebrews is letting us know that those who focus on the doctrines of Christ—baptism, repentance, faith, and eternal judgment— are immature! And even though the author doesn’t say it directly, we get the sense that he is mocking those who don’t realize the greater purpose of the Gospel message because they have sacrificed it for simplistic thinking. In verses just prior to the two I presented above, the author calls this kind of Christian a “babe” who is unskillful in the word of righteousness! In other words, whoever is guilty of such a thing has missed the entire point of Jesus’ role in the Gospels. From these two verses we also can glean that the same problem of interpreting the Gospel message existed in ancient times as it does now: as a Christian culture, we are still hung up on doctrine (religion) instead of true inner transformation. This sounds harsh, and it is! It should also be a wake up call.
The first time I read this verse, I instantly knew that my confusion stemming from all the Sunday church sermons I was hearing was justified; there really was something more to the gospel message than simple doctrine! My heart’s attitude toward the potential transforming power of the Biblical message was renewed and I knew that these verses proved there was something more than the milk I was hearing over and over again on Sunday morning. For the first time in many years I was able to say, maybe there is true power invested in the story of Jesus Christ and his mission to humanity. And then it hit me! The story of Jesus Christ is not so much about who Jesus was (more ideas and doctrine), but instead about what he represents. It was also then that I figured the Bible had some pretty deep messages hidden beneath the veneer of literal interpretation. After a few more years of intense searching and studying, I found I was right!
If we are honest with ourselves, we should admit that we have an entire Christian culture built around these very doctrines that the author of Hebrews tells us to leave! It’s everywhere. This shallow and simplistic way of thinking about the Bible and the Jesus story seems to be the focus of so many Christians. Getting people “saved” by making a verbal statement and believing some simple formula is supposed to completely transform the individual into a “new creature” in Christ, but rarely does this happen unless that same individual sticks it out and grows in maturity by leaving these doctrines and learning the deeper message. And even though they might not realize they are doing this, the ones who are transformed from the inside out truly have.
So we must understand that the author of Hebrews is letting us know that these doctrines—and all doctrine for that matter—are for the immature in Christ. There is something far more important and greater that humanity is to strive towards besides doctrines (which always lead us to more and more denominations and division).
So what is the deeper message that we should be focused on? For starters, this question returns us to the statement I made at the beginning of this post: the focus should not be on who Jesus was, but rather what he represents. And what is that?
When we leave the exoteric (outer, literal) interpretations of the Biblical stories and focus on the esoteric (inner, spiritual) revelations of the stories it becomes so simple. In fact, one verse in the previous chapter of Hebrews sums it up on a grand scale:
“Though he (Jesus) were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5:8).
Think about it. Even God himself had to go through the process of learning obedience by the things which he suffered. In esoteric terms, this verse means that Jesus matured by the experiences he endured as a human. Wait a minute! Isn’t this what we have to go through? Isn’t this the same process from which we mature also? Of course it is.
In the Gospels Jesus is presented as being both fully human and fully divine. At first this seems like a blatant contradiction. But it isn’t a contradiction at all when you realize that the human experience is also about the divine. Aren’t we made in the image of God? You must realize that you too are both fully human and fully divine! Every human is born with the spark of the divine within them, and only through this realization does the human condition become meaningful in the process of life and death. Why?
Because we too must learn obedience through the things that we suffer. In other words, we too grow and mature through the experiences of life.
Therefore Jesus is understood through what he represents and not who he was. And ultimately, he represents US! The gospel message and story of Jesus is about US! Jesus’ life-story is OUR life story. The same process of self-realization that Jesus went through by the things that he suffered—humanity to divinity—is the same self-realization process that we must go through by the things from which we suffer. It is all about the experience of life. So being made in God’s image is also about being made to realize the divine spark within!
And Jesus—at least for those of us who have moved into maturity—represents the true nature that resides beneath these fleshly bodies we inhabit as we sojourn on this earth. He is the author and perfection of our salvation because we know that he represents not another doctrine, but rather a way of life. And following him doesn’t mean we have to believe this or that. It means we strive to be like him and realize what lies “within” us.
This is where true maturity begins. This is where true divinity begins. Discovering the mystery of the human condition is perhaps the greatest mystery of all, and going “within” ourselves is without a doubt the greatest journey we could ever embark on.
Our next blog post will look as Jesus’ 40 day sojourn in the desert and how this represents our own internal struggles. If we can overcome them, then we can truly experience what Jesus represents for us and not just know it.
If you enjoyed this article, please don’t forget to spread the love through the social buttons at the top or button of this post. Thank you!